In August, the Republican members of the Senate Permanent Select Intelligence Committee (SPSCI) warned that the release of the committee’s report on the CIA’s Bush-era enhanced interrogation techniques could endanger American personnel abroad. Their warnings were dismissed at the time by Democrats who claimed that this investigation shouldn’t inspire a backlash because its likely conclusions are, for the most part, already widely assumed.
It turns out that Secretary of State John Kerry shared the concerns of the committee’s Republican members. A report in Bloomberg last week indicated that Kerry had asked the committee’s chair, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), to withhold the release of that report because it “could complicate relationships with foreign countries at a sensitive time and posed an unacceptable risk to U.S. personnel and facilities abroad.”
With the release of the committee’s long-awaited report set for Tuesday, U.S. facilities overseas are boosting security in anticipation of potentially violent anti-American demonstrations.
“The administration has for months been preparing for the release of this report. There are some indications that the release of this report could lead to a greater risk that is posed to U.S. facilities and individuals all around the world,” White House Press Sec. Josh Earnest told reporters on Monday. “So the administration has taken the prudent step to ensure that the proper security precautions are in place at U.S. facilities around the globe.”
A Fox News report expanded on the potential threat to American outposts:
…U.S. officials separately confirmed to Fox News that an advisory has been sent urging U.S. personnel overseas to reassess security measures in anticipation of the release. The message directs all overseas posts, including those used by CIA personnel, to “review their security posture” for a “range of reactions that might occur.”
A similar statement was being sent to military combatant commands to assess their readiness. Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren said Monday the combatant commands have been urged to “take appropriate force protection measures within their areas of responsibility.”
Asked whether the CIA report ought to be released, Warren said that is a “higher-level policy decision,” but added “there is certainly the possibility the release of this report could cause unrest.”
State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf confirmed on Monday that her agency is preparing to harden diplomatic installations abroad so that “our facilities and our interests are prepared for the range of reactions that might occur.”
While it is unclear just what unrest may materialize as a result of the release of this report, it is inevitable that the political press will extensively report on its findings and parse it for potential omissions.
I’ll close with a point I made on twitter: Tomorrow, coinciding with the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report, Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber will testify before a House committee and attempt to explain his inflammatory but candid comments about the law and the American people whom he helped to dupe. While one of these stories will be subject to intense scrutiny by the media, the other will be dismissed as old news.
… What’s wrong with this picture?